June 18, 2005

Race Mixin' and Assassination Among the Africanized Bees

Apparently the Killer -- AKA "Africanized" -- Bees that were expected in Arkansas have arrived, courtesy of Texas. Just to humor yours truly, let's examine the many adjectives and descriptions the media uses to describe these AfricanIZED bees, kay? We have: aggressive, killer, unwanted, dangerous, swarming, assassinators, and more.

I see then. When you Africanize anything, that's what you get--swarming, crazy, dangerous killers who like to fuck with the Europeans. Gangs, if you will. Made up of large members with big members and a taste for Europeans honeys.

You may wonder, how did we get the Africanized Bees in the first place?
Swarms of the Africanized honey bees have been moving north since the accidental release of some bees in 1957 from a program in Brazil, where they were being bred to improve that country's domestic bees.

Hmmm. Wonder why they're not called killer Brazilian bees. I guess that would take the sting out of the media's subliminal titillation machine, eh?

And then, of course, we have the reason that the well-hung Africanized bees have arrived in Arkansas in the first place:

Africanized bees have worked their way north by mating with European-strain queen bees.

Brings a whole new layer to the discussion around the birds and bees. Mommy, where do aggressive killer babies come from? Well honey, it's time we have a talk about the birds and Africanized bees....

Of course, you may choose to believe the scientist over the media: "The perception is worse than the reality," he said. They "are not coming to get people."

Yes, well, someone better tell FOX News.

June 17, 2005

Kaneva Beta Fun - You're Invited!

Having recently given beta feedback for Technorati, and for Highbeam, I'm now having beta fun exploring Kaneva.

It's actually fun trying to describe Kaneva. It's a kind of multi-media flickr (pre-fame) meets ebay on steroids, or an online marketplace for folks hyped on digital entertainment. An Intertainment Hub. A platform and host. Kaneva is really an interesting model.

What Kaneva is officially? "The world's first online digital entertainment marketplace enabling customers to watch, play, create, and market films and games." But you know the net--films and games are a start....video blogging, podcasting, combinations thereof, the sky could really be the limit. Kaneva could easily become a one-stop shop for downloading the newest (think blog-post frequency)amateur and indie entertainment. Because Kaneva also deals in currency, it gives new media creators a place and an audience for distributing and selling their work.

What Kaneva says:
The Long Tail represents that the aggregate of the less popular content is greater in revenue than only the blockbuster hits. Amazon and Netflix reflect this in their business models. There is a need for an infinite library of entertainment content available at all times for anyone from anywhere.

I think that's right on. Like blogging is to writing, and like flicker is tophotographyy, Kaneva could be to film, music, video and games.

Kaneva is the brainchild of Chris Klaus, founder of ISS and Really. Smart. Guy. See Chris' interview in Computer Games Magazine, and check out the Klaus Entertainment site for more Kaneva news.

Complete with tags, and a "blog this item" link to push Kaneva content outside the platform, I really like where Kaneva is going.

After watching some of the free movies and trailers, I'm transported back in time when there was no MTV and then there was. And, in college at the time, we watched it every night and felt something happening to our brains -- our visual and auditory sensory skills opening wide. Because most of us in our teens and early 20s watched MTV late into the night, MTV changed the way a generation dreamed. If you didn't know TV and Music before MTV, it's hard to explain. It has nothing to do with what MTV is like today.

But some of the original content on Kaneva feels like that first blush of MTV awakening. That expanding of possibilities.

Anyway, if you want to have beta fun, dig in. I'll see you there.

June 16, 2005

My House, The Disaster

Whenever George goes out of town, I look at the inside of the house with new eyes. Its as though having one less person here exposes the mess tenfold. What, was all of this shit hiding behind him, or have I just slowed down enough to look around and see the inside of my house as a stranger would. Say a stranger from DFACS. Who might condemn the place and take my kid away.

After all, you shouldn't have seven hamster poops laying on the livingroom floor for five days. Especially when you (vaguely) know they are there. I mean, you saw them, you didn't really want to know because the mess that has taken over the rest of the room, and adjoining rooms, really makes animal feces pale in comparison.

Today I cleaned the living room. Two baby hamsters and two grown hamsters, who must live in separate cages lest they create MORE baby hamsters, are just not helping the cause of cleaning up our act. But as I take the mama out of her cage and she rolls over in my hand to show me her belly, proud that she raised up her babies just fine this time, I'm glad we have them.

When it's quiet nighttime with just Jenna and me, and my imagination wanders to sudden noises and shadows moving, I'm glad for the three hamster wheels, squeaking away in unison, downstairs. No reason for a scare. It's just the hamsters, or the dog, or garbage bag full of old school papers and hamster shavings falling off the chair, or DFACS at the door.

The good thing about letting my house go to pot is that I used to NOT be able to do it. It used to be a source of anxiety, me moving things the minute anyone put them down. Trying to make order out of a lifetime of chaos.

Now that I've accepted chaos as chaos, now that I can identify it and at times have begun even to notice the specialness of disorder, to enjoy the free-form world, my life is more peaceful.

At the same time, I think I need a cleaning lady. Because learning to live in the moment can be really messy.


I love when I get calls from Bacons verifying what topics I write on, how I like to be pitched, my contact info., etc. I love it because I use tools that contain me in them. I love the twisted metaness of it. (yes, meta-ness, not meatness). Only in a hyperlinked world can you be reporter, source, and subject matter all at once. Weee. What a time to be alive. What a time to be a cat.

Ethnic Tanning

I haven't been blogging because I've been living, which has been nice. At the pool. In the sun. Beautific sunshine water wrap cool breeze summer stuff. Yum! I have now surpassed any need for sunscreen, even 4 oil, and might just gravitate to baby oil and iodine next week. In the mean time, behind all of the #30 sunscreen on the shelves at big lots, I found two bottles of some off-brand Australian oil for $2.49, no sunscreen, no nothing, but shine shine shine and brown brown brown. People, they say, "Where have you been?"

As a result, I'm now nearly the hue of my daughter in the winter, and she is now the hue of a dark-skinned East Indian. What a mix we are. She, the Jamaican-African- Native American-Sicilian-Czech who is East Indian for the summer, and me the Sicilian-Czech who is now Jamaican-African-Native American as well for the summer.

And all from a bottle of Australian tanning oil.


June 14, 2005

Chris Locke Narrows "How Far Ahead of His Time" Gap by One Year!

Immediate Release

With the announcement yesterday by Ketchum of its Personalized Media Service, Internet Prophet and Micro-Marketing Pioneer Christopher Locke officially narrowed the number of years he is "ahead of his time" by one year, shrinking the gap from five years down to four.

Published in 2001, and noted among Amazon's "Best of 2001" books, Locke's Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices foretold of strategies that would tap into "micromarkets," where people (the artists formerly known as consumers) gather around areas of interest (the antidote to segmentation devices formerly known as demographics, psychographics, buying habits, etc.). Among these online conversation conduits, Locke discussed blogs, blogging, bloggers, and other traditional BigPR Agency Fresh Meat of the future.

"The Internet has always demanded that business read between the lines. Weblogs raise the bar. Now the challenge is to read between the sites."


"Within a few years, many thousands of quality news, entertainment, and information sources will spring up on the Internet to serve highly-specific communities of interest."

--christopher locke, 2001

Having predicted that weblogs and interest-related, bottom-up media would become a threat to the mainstream broadcast model, Locke lent further proof to the well-known adage among Internetziens that Chris Locke is five years ahead of his time.

Unfortunately for Locke, showing up to the party with noise makers and sparklers five years before the pizza gets there can leave a guy kind of hungry.

"Chris has no idea that he's steering all of us in his intended direction--I mean the whole net simultaneously--but he is," Co-Clutrain Author Doc Searls might have said.

"He thinks he's just writing about interesting topics, which right now focus mainly on religion, race relations, the curse of The New Age, Jung v Freud v Alice Miller, and of course some gratuitous sex and violence," David Weinbergermight have said. "But what he's really doing is changing the course of business and humanity--and where we'll be five years, I mean four years, from now. Which is pretty amazing considering he hasn't changed his jeans in six days."

What does Locke say about narrowing the "ahead of his time" gap to four years?

"I felt something happening with the time-space continuum when I let the cat out this morning. Now it all makes sense."

For more information on enlisting the services of Mr. Locke to set your personal media strategy on fire, contact Chris Locke at clocke@panix.com.

June 13, 2005

Just one thing to say.

If a bunch of older white folks -- especially the elderly women who look like my grandma -- can clear Michael Jackson, then he's pretty much cleared in my book. Next Stop: Get the man some cult deprogramming therapy.

Aggregator Dysphoria Dysfunction Evolution

The TV remote control of the blogworld, aggregators have been fascinating me now for what, two full weeks? That sounds about right.

As a relatively new user, I have passed another milestone this week in the world of Aggregators. I find that I've stopped bothering to click on the various bloggers I subscribe to so that I might find out what the 23 new posts they've written say.

With lightning quick speed, I simply skim through the listings, see how many times my favorite bloggers have posted, and am quite sastisfied with that knowledge alone.

What about actually reading some, you might ask?

Why, my aggregator makes me far too efficient for that. Think of the time savings I'm realizing by reading who has posted rather than what they've posted.

Besides, I've been channel surfing all weekend, and it's amazing, isn't it, that with all these channels, there can still be "nothing on."

A blog-friend and I were talking recently, yack yack yacking away on the phone. (The phone is that medium where you really do LOL.)

"Jesus," he says, "Doc's posted 120 times since the last time I checked--STOP IT DOC, You're gonna go blind!"

Bloggers: Have you checked your eyesight today?

June 12, 2005

Best of Sunday

The Piano, 2003.
I blog from my couch. I guess if you saw the picture in the NY Times article, you've guessed that. I write on a laptop in what has to be the most unhealthy position for a spine you can imagine. I am the anti-ergomatic. I never had a choice really. Four years of simultaneous child rearing and working from home puts you in some precarious positions. A deadline is a deadline, and so, you work around the the general household insanity until one day you surrender to it, sit down on the couch, and say, Okay, I'll work from here.

Across from the couch is our piano. It was my father's piano--he bought it when i was three I think. An Ivers & Ponds baby grand. And while you may think, hey, nice that you have a baby grand, anyone who has had the responsibility of a piano for more than 20 years as I have can tell you--it's like owning a baby elephant that sings. I don't play--I goof around on it. George, of course, gets much use on it as he sometimes writes on the piano.

But the thing about pianos is moving them.

It's no small task, a huge expense, something you have to plan in advance for, and something you have to design one entire room of your house around.

I have moved this piano no fewer than 9 times since it officially became mine at age 18. There was the apartment it barely fit in. There wasn my English teacher who gave it a foster home for a year because no moving company would take it up the winding stairway framed with stained-glass windows. There was the house where it had a living room all to itself. And many more journeys.

When I think about moving, I think about the piano. And when I think about the piano, I think I'll never move again.

And yet, because it is something that touched my father's hands, because I have tapes of him pulling chords and notes so beautiful from it, I can never let it go. I can get back to that place in an instant, me on the piano stool him kneeling beside me, me stretching my legs down trying to reach the pedals, and finally being able to.

There is something about instruments, especially those made of wood. I have seen and held many, played a few (badly), and I know when an instrument is special. I have felt the presence of pre-played notes, that tingle that lets you know a piece of someone who touched it has been absorbed in the wood. If you listen very closely, you can almost hear the echos reverberating from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago. It is a primal and joyous thing.

I'm tired, it's 5:13, and sleep won't come, my eye keeps driftin gover to the baby grand.

And I swear I can hear something.

Best of Sunday

What I don't Remember, 2004:
what I did that night
what I did the next day, or the day after.
the first time I saw his room without his bedcovers turned down.
where I went during the wake.
where his clothes went.
why no one saved me his paisley pajamas.
what my sister said to me about dad being dead
what my brother said to me about dad being dead
what I said to my sister about dad being dead
what I said to my brother about dad being dead
what my mother told me after that thing about mourning
when the next time anyone said his name was
where I went next
what I wore
why they sent me away before the funeral
what they said to me about the funeral
How I got to Illinois
who took me there
Why they slept my older cousin on the porch with me
How he knew about sex
What I said to my grandmother about my father
what she said to me
when I went home from Illinois
how I got home.
the first time I looked at the piano without him there
the first time I looked at the bass without him there
the first time I looked at myself without him there
what I ate that day
what I ate the next day
what I said when other people said, "I'm sorry."
when I stopped liking the attention it got me
when I started feeling guilty
when I realized it wasn't fair
the first time I cried
the first time I wished him back

Best Of Sunday

CDs From 2002
I'm sitting here tonight letting my mind wander, thinking about digital generations, resurrecting the dead through digital technology. Stuff like that. Because tonight I put on a CD my cousin had burned last year, a CD featuring my grandfather on mandolin, my dad on bass and piano, and my great uncle on guitar, playing, like they did every Sunday of every week of every year, while we children danced and played and sang off-key.

I know the CD. I mean, I've listened to it before. But before tonight, I had never listened to it with my own daughter. Here she is in front of me, almost five years old, the age I was day this family session was taped. I'm looking into her eyes, and I see them all. Every one of them gone, gone long before I had a chance to ask questions, to find out everything I needed to know. And I'm explaining to her that this is her grandfather, and her great grandfather--mommy's dad and grandpa. And she's looking at me, again in her eyes I see each of them. There is my dad, her chin is his chin. And there is my grandfather--her stubborn brow.

And I'm realizing that these oak speakers, yep, these right here on the floor, are resurrecting, if only briefly, her great grandfather and her grandfather. Here we are, four generations, gathered in my living room joined by music recorded in 1967. And I hear myself laughing on the CD, and I sound just like her. It's like an echo of an echo of something so familiar. I sound so happy. I was so happy.

It's all the history I can give her--the music. It's all I have. I was too young when he died to give her anything other than sounds, because those are what I remember. So we share them. And she shares them. And we're happy.

More about the Rochester Jazz Scene

It's the scene that contributed to the sound of both my father and my husband--or should I say they contributed to it. I guess we're a family example of what this article is getting at -- the Italian/African jazz dance that's gone on for decades in western NY.
It was just that sort of cross-pollination that got Chris Melito interested in jazz when he was growing up near the Public Market in the 1940s. When he went to concerts, like the one featuring Duke Ellington's Orchestra at the Sports Arena at EdgertonPark, there was a mixed audience. Jazz was one thing that brought blacks and whites together in Rochester. "We just listened," Melito says. "There was no awareness. Back in those days you didn't think black and white in regard to music, just good and bad."

Of course, me thinks the author and Mr. M. might be forgetting how close a neighbor Africa is to Sicily, but anywho... I do agree that there is something entirely fascinating about the genetic makeup and talent level of the Rochester jazz scene.

An amazing historic site here on the area and Jazz--I just emailed Noal to let him know about my father, who played with Mike Arena and Joe Romano, both mentioned on the site.

All in a day's work.

I'm gonna fly

More old Rochester music, circa 1970s, with Don Potter (who a deade or two ago chose to point his powerful voice in the direction of Christian music) on vocals, along with John Labarbera, Joe Labarbera, Mick Guzauski, Chip Jackson, Bernie Heveron, and more and more. So you have to love this version of I'm gonna fly someday.. I still have the vinyl.